Nancy Azara paints, carves, traces, cuts and moves around her materials in a way that negotiates raw instinct with thoughtful deliberation with a very specific and intricate thinking. The work embodies serious play. Surface is super rough yet delicate. There is a definite sense of knowing the materials yet the forms and imagery continue to unravel into the unknown. Zahar Vaks, Curator, "On Knowing Unknowing: A Material Narrative," 2016 Ortega y Gasset Projects, Brooklyn, NY
Azara is an assured colorist and her sculptures are vivid; reds, roses and purples– her favorite hues–dominate her palette, balanced by the sheen of gold, silver, and in her most recent work, aluminium leaf. The rich encaustic of the surfaces seems burnished to a soft glow and have the look of things that have been intently looked at, visually and literally caressed."
Lilly Wei, from "Spirit Taking Form, She Said", 2010
Nancy Azara is an artist who has exhibited her sculpture and collages in New York City throughout the U.S. and abroad. Her work is carved, assembled and painted wood often gilded with gold and silver leaf and encaustic as well as mixed media collages. Her mixed media collages, mylar, paper, paint and sometimes wood chips, are about time in relation to memory and personal history. Curator, critic Leonie Bradbury describes them as mixed media collage drawings seamlessly combining a contemporary printmaker’s aesthetic with organic mark making.
Nancy speaks about her sculpture: I have been carving sculpture in wood for a long time. It has felt like a good “fit” for me as I have always admired trees and I often even as a child felt that they held a metaphor for my experience of life. Most recently my work has been about the cycle of time, about the death of my mother, about the birth of my granddaughter, (See Maxi’s Wall, and Leaf Altar for Nunzia) and my own aging.
I will be exhibiting my work in a one-person show Passage of the Ghost Ship: Trees and Vines at The Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial in Cornish, New Hampshire, (Summer, 2017). I recently exhibited my work in one person exhibitions such as: Tuscan Spring: Rubbings, Scrolls, and Other Works, curated by Harry Weil at A.I.R. Gallery in Dumbo (2016), the exhibition I am the Vine, You are the Branches at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, Brooklyn Heights, NY was held during the Lenten celebration, Of leaves and vines . . . A shifting braid of lines at SACI Gallery in Florence, Italy (2015). Group exhibitions include: Knowing Unknowing: A Material Narrative, curated by Zahar Vaks, Ortega Y Gasset Projects in Brooklyn, NY; So Much, So Little, All at Once, organized by Yevgeniya Baras was at Regina Rex Gallery; Allegory of Leaves at New Jersey State University; Allegory of Leaves at New Jersey State University; Atwater Art Gallery in Rhinebeck, NY; Pseudo Empire, Brooklyn, NY; Gallery Sensei, NYC; Scripps College in Claremont, CA and at the Asya Geisberg Gallery in Chelsea, NY. Earlier one woman exhibitions: Donahue/Sosinski Art, the Andre Zarre and A.I.R. Galleries in New York City, the Froelick Gallery, Portland, Oregon, the Tweed Museum in Duluth, Minnesota, Rudolph E. Lee Gallery in Clemson, N.C., the Gwinnett Fine Arts Center in Duluth, Georgia and group shows such as the traveling Rutger’s University exhibition, How American Women Artists Invented Post-Modernism. I was the featured sculptor at the SANYI Museum, NANCY AZARA in Taiwan in 2008.
I have written an article for The Brooklyn Rail "The Language of Art is Still Defined By Men". My book, Spirit Taking Form: Making a Spiritual Practice of Making Art (Red Wheel/ Weisers) explores issues of art and spirituality. I have an essay, “In Pursuit of the Divine” for The Kensington and Winchester Papers: Painting, Sculpture and the Spiritual Dimension, (Onerios Books).
I was a founder of the New York Feminist Art Institute (NYFAI) in 1979, where I was on the board and taught a workshop called “Consciousness Raising, Visual Diaries, Art Making” for many years. I have had residencies in both the United States and Canada, in Europe and India, most recently at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Umbertide, Italy; Bogliasco Foundation, Genoa, Italy; Chikraneketan in South India (state of Kerala); La Macina di San Cresci, Greve, Italy; and I am on the board of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, Woodstock, NY and Soho20 Gallery in Chelsea, NY.